Transoceanic echoes: coolitude and the work of the Mauritian poet Khal Torabully
Abstract:Khal Torabully's poetry (mainly Cale d'toiles coolitude and Chair corail, fragments coolies) surfaces as a marine odyssey of the coolie diaspora. Coolitude epitomizes in many respects a double articulation in Torabully's work: his commitment to denouncing trauma and violence at the eve of the twenty-first century as well as the concern of the contemporary artist to find adequate words, styles and modes to engage with this suffering. Torabully, similarly to Paul Gilroy, maps a more complex picture of the notion of Indian identity, shifting the emphasis from a fossilizing nostalgia for a fixed India to the ocean space that mediates the numerous cultural (ex)changes coolie culture has undergone. His rehabilitation of the coolie memory embodied in coolitude has provided him with a framework to understand, not only his own but on a more universal level, the cross-cultural chaotic relationships that can lead to bursts of creativity but also devastating violence. Coolitude thus emerges as a poetics that attempts to recover and reassess the transoceanic crossing of coolies, establishing it as a central metaphor that is constitutive of a new perspective on Indian identities characterized by multiple crossings: crossings between cultures, heritages, places, generations, gender, historical assertions, and mythical references.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Universit Catholique de Louvain.
Publication date: August 1, 2005
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